OK, that’s not a particularly unusual occurrence, but this has been one of the more unusual crashes for me. Earlier this morning I went to the Windows machine to burn an ISO image. It’s not that Linux isn’t capable, or that Windows does it better, just that unfortunately at the moment most of my machines are in pieces and the one with the CD burner has an old and flaky Windows XP install on it.
Anyway, I had misplaced the Knoppix ISO file that I was going to use, got distracted and only got back to the machine later in the afternoon. Not a major problem, bar the fact that this machine tends to sulk if it is left unused and crash (its days are numbered once I get my other machines built!). This time all initially seemed well though, bar the fact that there was a message telling me that other users were logged on and was I sure I wanted to shutdown. Well, I was the only user logged on and I hadn’t asked for a shutdown. In addition to this I only download updates, so nothing should have happened automatically (although after a recent run in with Windows Genuine Advantage and several exchanges with Microsoft I did find their ‘fix’ had enabled automatic updates as a side effect a while back!).
So I told the computer not to continue and proceeded to locate the ISO. Unfortunately the computer was apparently still shutting down as each application vanished in turn and I was then logged off. That would have been merely annoying and resulted in an investigation as to what had triggered the shutdown, but I was left on the login screen. Well almost the login screen anyway. There was no ‘turn off the computer’ button (this is a family machine and hence uses the login screen with the picture for each user – great for kids). The other problem was that, even with valid passwords, I could not login to any account.
Well the machine got left for a while, another distraction, and when I returned there was a very old style password prompt to unlock the screen. Once I had done this I simply had a desktop background with nothing else, but I was able to bring up the task manager and reboot from there.
All this seems suspicious activity, but my anti-virus / anti-malware / anti-etc. software is up to date, and scans using it and online tools don’t show up anything. I also don’t use Internet Explorer or Outlook Express and am patched right up to date bar 3 items from Windows / Microsoft update. The three items are .Net 3.5 which fails to install because it fails the pre-requisite of .Net 3.5 being installed (?!), Internet Explorer 8 (which for some reason is a high priority update and not an upgrade), and Silverlight. This last one is both of no interest and incompatible with my CPU! I know it is incompatible because it is a requirement for viewing some of the information Microsoft told me look at regarding my WGA problem, so I did actually try to install it.
Oh well, all the more reason to replace the machine and use Linux 🙂